Languages › French French Silent Letters and Pronunciation Share Flipboard Email Print Tetra Images/Getty Images French Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Grammar Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Updated February 21, 2020 One of the difficulties with French pronunciation is that it is not a phonetic language. A phonetic language (e.g., Spanish, Arabic) is one in which each letter has a single corresponding sound; in other words, spelling matches the pronunciation. Other languages, like French and English, are not phonetic: they have letters that can be pronounced in different ways or sometimes not at all. There are three categories of silent letters in French. E muet / ElisionH muet and aspiréFinal consonants This lesson will focus on final consonants; follow the links to the right for detailed explanations of the silent letters E and H. The basic rule of French pronunciation is that the final consonant is not pronounced, but there are many exceptions, which are what this lesson is about.* The letters B, C, F, K, L, Q, and R are usually pronounced at the end of a word. Tip: Since B, K, and Q are rare as final consonants, some people find it helpful to use the word CaReFuL to remember the most common of the usually pronounced final consonants. Usually pronounced Some exceptions* B le Maghrebun snobun club le plomb C un trucun flicavec un estomac, un tabac, le porcnasal vowel + c: un banc, blanc F actifun chefun oeuf un nerf, une clef, oeufs K un anorakun lookle bifteck L ilavrilun hôtelun bol gentil, outil; vowel + -il: à l'appareil, un oeil The other French consonants are usually silent at the end of a word, with some exceptions. Tip: Many exceptions are proper names or words borrowed from other languages. Usually silent Some exceptions* D froidchaudd'accord sud; Proper names: David, Alfred G le sanglong le grog M, N unbalconparfum Latin words: amen, forum P un drapbeaucoupun champ un slip, un cap S exprèstroisvousbas un fils, un autobus, le tennis T etabricotsalutvingt brut, ouest, huit; -ct ending: direct, strict; -pt ending: concept, sept X deuxun prixun époux six, index, Aix Z chezle riz le gaz Note: The words plus and tout have their own pronunciation rules. Using Encha퀌nement in French Pronunciation What Does IPA Have to Do With the French Language? How Do You Conjugate the Irregular French Verb "Haïr"? A Beginner's Guide to French Pronunciation Learn How to Pronounce 2,500 Words With This French Audio Guide Is Spanish Really Easier Than French? Learn proper French pronunciation with liaisons These French Pronunciation Mistakes Are Toughest for New Speakers Do You Know How to Pronounce the 'A' in French? How to Pronounce French Consonants Learn French Expressions with Plus French Pronunciation of the Letter H How to Pronounce the Letter "Y"in French Improve Your French Pronunciation With These Tips When Does a French 'S' Sound Like a 'Z'? Can Your English Tongue Speak the French 'T'?